When Yawning Costs You Money
It’s always difficult going into work after a bad night’s sleep – it’s hard to think clearly, we’re slow to respond to things and we lack creative energy. This usually results in a very unproductive day with slow results. However, there are many people whose problems extend far beyond the loss of a single night’s sleep. In fact, 25% of the UK population suffers from some form of sleep disorder that creates regular problems.
Investigating sleep deprivation has been a big area of research for the last ten years. The results have revealed that sleep deprivation and its impact on the individual, the business and wider economy is much greater than expected. Anything less than 7 hours sleep can be damaging and have been linked to a range of physical and psychological problems.
The research has revealed the results from looking at the effects of sleep deprivation in the workplace; 42% of employers stated that they were less productive at work when tired and 29% wanted to see sleeping facilities in the workplace so they could catch up on sleep. It was found that poor quality of sleep is the greatest non-work pressure.
Employees suffering with insomnia experienced a 6.1% productivity loss – this has been estimated to cost £2153 per employee with insomnia and approximately £1700 for those with less serious problems. Overall, sleep deprivation is costing companies over £43billion in reduced productivity.
If sleep problems are having such a massive impact in the workplace, it does make sense for the employers to act. A lot of sleep problems arise from issues and stress occurring in the workplace, so by addressing this, it can help a lot in the long run.
Not many UK organisations appear to be addressing sleep deficit, but as the problems increase, it is becoming increasingly harder to ignore. Employers can take the following practical steps to encourage and support employees in developing healthy sleep patterns:
- Have a wellbeing strategy in place – raise awareness about the importance of healthy sleep and the risks associated with sleep deprivation
- Offer screening to those with suspected sleep problem so their condition can be diagnosed and treated
- Promote a good work-life balance
- Where possible, maximise access to natural light – research has shown that employees whose offices receive more sunlight sleep better and have higher levels of wellbeing
- Encourage staff to take regular breaks and stretch their legs. With so many jobs being computer based, and research showing that prolonged use of computers raising the risk of insomnia and sleep deficit, it is important to have a break from the computer screen for at least half an hour.